Shane Byrne took to the stage on Sunday night ready to perform in tribute to his friend and ex-rugby teammate Anthony ‘Axel’ Foley.
When thinking of tribute week Shane knew straight away who he wanted to honour, and who better than his late best friend.
We really wanted to show a stripped-back version of Shane, obviously, I know that he can dance and I wanted everybody else to see that,” Karen tells VIP Magazine as she discusses the choreography.
Shane was questioning what emotion he would have to portray in this dance, but Karen was right there to say: “Don’t worry, on the night you will portray emotion that is real.”
Choreographing the piece was a totally new experience for Karen because it was a completely stripped-back version of the dance.
Karen mentioned that she herself didn’t expect to get so emotional: “Oh my god no! Never. I think we honestly felt the pressure and I think seeing his wife and the two boys just sitting there, just before we were to dance. They were so proud watching the VT and I think Shane’s emotion just tipped me over the edge.”
When asked how he felt about tonight Shane said: “It was a lot more emotional than I expected, but I’m delighted. Listen, from a dance point of view, we got great comments from the judges and our highest score ever.”
He continues joking: “Karen didn’t have anything to criticise me about during the dance so that’s always a bonus.”
Karen reveals how proud she is of Shane and his performance after a very stressful, pressure-filled week for the former rugby player to get everything right.
“I think if a mistake had have happened we would’ve been devastated.”
So was Shane able to relax as there was no elimination this weekend? Not a chance.
“No. Obviously, you want to do your best to stay in the competition but this was a different kind of reason, I wanted to get it right for my pal, in front of his family. So definitely there was no ease in the pressure,” he tells us.
The dances have been choreographed by Karen using mainly dance techniques but also some crazy moves like cartwheels and tumbles to showcase their personalities.
“I want kids at home to want to get up and say I want to do with Karen and Shane are doing,” she confesses.
So what can we expect from them next week?
Karen tells us: “It’s going to be jam-packed. It’s gonna be fun with a lot of content. He’s got really good rhythm so I think this dance might be his dance. I say this every week but I mean it!”